A Box of Photographs

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A Box of Photographs

Format:  Hardcover,

109 pages

Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr

Publish Date: Mar 2013

ISBN-13: 9780226308319

ISBN-10: 0226308316

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Most attempts to generalize about photography as a medium run up against our experience of the photographs themselves. We live with photos and cameras every day, and philosophies of the photographic image do little to shake our intimate sense of how we produce photographs and what they mean to us. In this book that is equal parts memoir and intellectual and cultural history, French writer Roger Grenier contemplates the ways that photography can change the course of a life, reflecting along the way on the history of photography and its practitioners. Unfolding in brief, charming vignettes, "A Box of Photographs" evokes Grenier's childhood in Pau, his war years, and his working life at the Gallimard publishing house in Paris. Throughout these personal stories, Grenier subtly weaves the story of a lifetime of practicing and thinking about photography and its heroes--Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Alfred Eisenstaedt, George Brassai, Inge Morath, and others. Adding their own insights about photography to the narrative are a striking range of writers, thinkers, and artists, from Lewis Carroll, Albert Camus, and Arthur Schopenhauer to Susan Sontag, Edgar Degas, and Eugene Delacroix. Even cameras themselves come to life and take on personalities: an Agfa accompanies Grenier on grueling military duty in Algeria, a Voigtlander almost gets him killed by German soldiers during the liberation of Paris, and an ill-fated Olympus drowns in a boating accident. Throughout, Grenier draws us into the private life of photographs, seeking the secrets they hold for him and for us. A valedictory salute to a lost world of darkrooms, proofs, and the gummed paper corners of old photo albums, " A Box of Photographs" is a warm look at the most honest of life's mirrors.

Specifications

:
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Publish Date: Mar 2013
ISBN-13: 9780226308319
ISBN-10: 0226308316
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 109
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.6
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.75 x 9.0 x 0.75

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2013-05-01)

French novelist and critic Grenier's (The Difficulty of Being a Dog) short personal essays revisit his childhood and young-adult life in Paris while explaining his enduring connection with photography. Through charming anecdotes, Grenier blends his own history with that of photography, and explains how the medium has influenced his entire life. He begins with early photographic history and its practitioners (e.g., George Eastman, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lewis Carroll) and smoothly weaves these histories into his own memories.

However, since Grenier developed film in his family's pharmacy-cum-photo lab, his connection to photography goes well beyond mere appreciation. In the essay entitled "A Summer in the Lab", Grenier calls photography "a faithful friend". When he writes about contemporary digital technology, it's easy to read between the lines and conclude that he is nostalgic about his early physical and chemical connections to the medium. The book's title is another romantic nod to analog photography, since photographs are now stored on memory cards and computers and no longer as physical prints in boxes.

Verdict: Recommended for those who practice or appreciate photography and its history.

-Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

Most attempts to generalize about photography as a medium run up against our experience of the photographs themselves. We live with photos and cameras every day, and philosophies of the photographic image do little to shake our intimate sense of how we produce photographs and what they mean to us. In this book that is equal parts memoir and intellectual and cultural history, French writer Roger Grenier contemplates the ways that photography can change the course of a life, reflecting along the way on the history of photography and its practitioners.
Unfolding in brief, charming vignettes, A Box of Photographs evokes Grenier’s childhood in Pau, his war years, and his working life at the Gallimard publishing house in Paris.

Throughout these personal stories, Grenier subtly weaves the story of a lifetime of practicing and thinking about photography and its heroes—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Alfred Eisenstaedt, George Brassaï, Inge Morath, and others. Adding their own insights about photography to the narrative are a striking range of writers, thinkers, and artists, from Lewis Carroll, Albert Camus, and Arthur Schopenhauer to Susan Sontag, Edgar Degas, and Eugène Delacroix. Even cameras themselves come to life and take on personalities: an Agfa accompanies Grenier on grueling military duty in Algeria, a Voigtlander almost gets him killed by German soldiers during the liberation of Paris, and an ill-fated Olympus drowns in a boating accident.

Throughout, Grenier draws us into the private life of photographs, seeking the secrets they hold for him and for us.

A valedictory salute to a lost world of darkrooms, proofs, and the gummed paper corners of old photo albums, A Box of Photographs is a warm look at the most honest of life’s mirrors.

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